Monday, May 27, 2024

“I Just Didn’t Fit”: Kyrie Irving Breaks Silence on Team USA Snub as His Brothers Head to Paris Olympics

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Many believe that becoming an All-Star is the toughest feat to achieve in the NBA. However, earning a spot on Team USA’s roster for the Olympics may give that achievement a run for its money. The USA, being the birthplace of the sport, possesses some of the biggest stars of the game. And Every four years, these players unite for just a month or two to pursue a common goal: winning the Olympic gold medal.

Naturally, some stars miss out on selection, and this time around it was Kyrie Irving. Irving had been an integral part of Team USA setup for multiple years. Even winning the gold in 2014 FIBA World Cup and the 2016 Rio Olympics. However, he was one of several stars who didn’t get the nod for the 2024 Paris Olympics.

During a recent press conference, Kyrie broke his silence on Team USA’s snub. He said, “I would have loved to, but I wish my brothers well, and I just didn’t fit into this team. … I have nothing but respect for those guys over at USAB. At this point in my career, I think my focus should be on winning the championship.”

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While Kyrie Irving gracefully accepted his exclusion, he also pointed out a varied aspect in Team USA’s selection process. He added further, “I grew up in a time when we actually had to try out for USAB, and we did meet up as a group and as peers, and there was a mutual respect that we earned from one another, and trying out, and then seeing what five meshed well.”

The process of selection holds multiple stages, however, instead of trials as Irving points out, a player pool is created with eligible names, followed by invitations, and training camps. “A lot of thought did go into… You want players whose games certainly translate on that stage… who can blend and can fit and can play certain roles that you need.” Grant Hill said.

Now, with the Olympic selection off the table, Kyrie Irving’s sole focus shifts to the Dallas Mavericks and their pursuit of a first title in 13 years.

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Could Kyrie Irving lead the Dallas Mavericks to the 2024 NBA title?

Going into the playoffs, the Dallas Mavericks are one of the hottest teams in the league. However, that always wasn’t the case. In fact, the Mavs endured a mid-season slump, which resulted in them dropping out of a guaranteed playoff spot in the Western Conference standings. But a late-season resurgence, led by Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving, meant that the Mavs finished as the fifth seed.

The trade deadline acquisitions of Daniel Gafford and PJ Washington made an instant impact. Both new auditions provided the size and defensive prowess that the Mavs severely lacked. Following the trade deadline, Dallas instantly became one of the best offensive sides, and one of the stingiest defensive teams in the NBA. In fact, the Mavs were the fifth best defensive team since the trade deadline, with a defensive rating of 111.8. Meanwhile, on the offensive end, they ranked eighth with an offensive rating of 117.7.

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USA Today via Reuters

Despite the incredible impact of Gafford and PJ Washington, the Mavs have been built around the offensive wizardry of Luka and Kyrie. And so far, both their stars have delivered. Luka has averaged 33.9 points, 9.8 assists and 9.2 rebounds in 70 games this season. Meanwhile, Kyrie has averaged 25.6 points, 5.2 assists, and 5.0 rebounds in 58 games this season. The Mavs are set to take on the Clippers in the first-round of the playoffs. And if form books are anything to go by, then the Mavs have a legitimate opportunity of winning the coveted Larry O’Brien trophy for the first time in 13 years.

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